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Friday, September 15, 2006

NY Franchise Decision Could Be Delayed

- Word comes now that the Sept 29 deadline for New York's Ad Hoc Committee on the Future of Racing to decide on who to recommend as the new franchise holder is likely to be pushed back, and would anyone mind if I say I told ya so? And in any event, the recommendation will be non-binding, and is likely to have little influence once the Spitzer administration takes over in Albany.

Meanwhile, MGM responded in a letter to Carole Stone, the chairperson of the committee overseeing NYRA's operations, who on Tuesday affirmed that the remainder of NYRA's bailout package won't be released until MGM "commits" to the project.

'MGM is ready, willing and able to go forward with its plans to construct and manage the Aqueduct VLT project,' [MGM Exec VP Gary] Jacobs wrote. 'MGM is enthusiastic about the Aqueduct VLT project, is ready to loan the funds required to construct the project and is eager to commence construction and launch VLT operations.' [Saratogian]
Well, of course they're eager. In fact, it's an insult to the intelligence of every racing fan in the state for anyone to even suggest that the approval of the racino is being held up for any other reason than petty bullshit politics.

And just in case lame duck Governor Pataki, who is putting his stamp on the state government with long-term political appointments at an unprecedented rate, is holding up approval in an attempt to make MGM go away, perhaps in an attempt to steer the business to someone who has generously contributed to his campaigns (just speculating here), Jacobs made it clear that the company has "substantial rights and remedies" in its VLT contract with NYRA that will be binding on whoever holds the next franchise to operate racing at Aqueduct. [Bloodhorse]